Have you ever fucked up? I have!

So, once upon a time, I went to Beauty School. I was 16 years old and looking for a good way to leave High School early every day. My best friend wanted to be a “hairstylist to the stars” and told me I should do this whole beauty school thing with her.

I wasn’t very interested in hair or the beauty industry at that point. However, once I entered Beauty School a whole new world opened up to me. Not only was I amongst an older group of (mostly) women who ranged in age from 16 to mid-40s. I was also introduced to the art form and creativity that comes with being a hairstylist.

I feel I have witnessed everything good and bad about being a hairstylist.

Have you ever fucked up someone’s long, beautiful hair?

I have.

I was 17, and somewhat close to graduating from the cosmetology program. By this point, of course, I think I’m tough shit and know everything. I’m overly confident, with next to no real-world experience.

In walks a total beach babe. She was thin, young, beautiful and seemed extremely kind. This girl had hair nearly to her waist and it was thick and luscious.

She sat down in my chair, and we talked about what she wanted. A haircut. Not much off of the length, but she was really feeling brave and wanted to add face-framing layers starting like a fringe from the temple, and blending all the way to the end of her length.

I remembered a lecture given, a technique I’d seen used but never tried myself. I told myself I could do it. I told myself, I could fake it since her hair was so long, and there was so much to work with.

I was wrong. I started chopping into her hairline, trying to get it to connect to the bottom of her hair. It was like I was trying to do a particularly difficult geometry assignment. Connecting two points that really have no business connecting.

I realize (as I’m removing HUGE hunks of hair) that I’m seeing more of her ear than I’d anticipated. And for some horrible reason, her hair was shrinking as it dried.

I stopped in a panic.

I looked into her face, she looked back into mine. I think a bead of sweat formed on my upper lip, I’m sure my face paled like I was about to vomit. I said, as I’d been dutifully taught when I needed help, “I’ll be right back. I need a second opinion.”

I tracked down the only teacher in the whole beauty school and told her what happened. She seemed confident as her black high heels clacked quickly over to my station. I guess I didn’t explain it well because she audibly gasped when she saw my once beautiful client.

That’s when this adorable, sweet girl began to realize shit had hit the fan. She looked in the mirror and began to pull desperately at what was left of her hair. She began to cry. I was mortified, shattered. My instructor tried to soften the blow of the chunky, crooked, gashes I’d made in her hair with a straight razor. (A great technique, however, there wasn’t much that could be done at that point.)

I didn’t make eye contact as this woman left the school. I was mortified, and about to be unleashed onto the general public as an actual hairstylist. This was the first time I questioned my career choices, and definitely not the last.

It’s one of those hard lessons you have to learn. Just when you think you know everything, something new comes to challenge you. And, if you’re anything like me, you fail. And maybe you try again… And fail again. And, that’s okay, right? It’s okay to be humbled by life.